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How to Organize a Side by Side Refrigerator


Organizing your refrigerator will help you to make the most of your storage space as well as to keep food fresh longer.  Here are a few important tips.

Move Your Shelves to Accommodate Your Lifestyle

Different people eat different things, but many people consistently eat the same things as well as use the same storage containers over and over.  Your refrigerator should reflect your diet and storage habits by adjusting the shelving accordingly.

For example, the top shelf at eye level may be ideal for accommodating the tallest items as well as those that are used the most frequently such as milk containers and water pitchers.  To make sure that no space is wasted, set the height of the shelf to match your tallest container or item.

Rather than stacking small items to gain the most vertical space, set a shelf in the fridge to match the height of your shortest items such as egg cartons, butter, and yogurt containers.

Store Frequently Used Items Front and Center

To avoid having to continuously move items keeping the door open longer, items used often should be stored up front.   Those that are used less frequently should be stored in the back.

Storage on the Door

Interestingly, many refrigerator models have designed the door to house dairy items.  Many have an egg rack, a butter holder, and some of the newer models have a wider design to accommodate a gallon of milk.  The door is probably the worst place to store these quickly perishable items because it is actually the least cold part of the refrigerator due to the frequent opening of the door.

But, the door is the perfect place to store condiments that might otherwise get buried in the back of the refrigerator.  Store salad dressings on one shelf, jams and jellies on another.  Storing with the labels facing forward will make the items easier to find, which means less time with the refrigerator door open.

Special Consideration for Raw Meat

Meats should be given a special drawer or should be placed on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator to avoid any raw meat juice dripping to lower shelves and contaminating any other food.  Store them on a cookie sheet or platter so that any drippings can be easily removed and washed.


Special Consideration for Young Children

If you have a young child that is constantly dragging a stool over to refrigerator and pulling out items, it may be beneficial for him as well as the organization of the refrigerator to set aside the lowest shelf for his needs.  On this shelf, you can store juice boxes and yogurt containers.  Fill small plastic containers with lids with already prepared snacks such as cubes of cheese or cut up fruit.  Then keep all the glass containers and anything else that your child shouldn’t be touching hidden at the top back of the fridge.

Did You Know?

A full refrigerator and freezer consume less energy than an empty fridge.

Bags of ice stored in less than full freezer will help it to run more efficiently.

Storing hot foods in the refrigerator will cause it to work harder and use more electricity.

A manual-defrost refrigerator consumes 30-40% less energy than a comparable auto-defrost model.


Expert Opinion

Quote: “Keep desserts and other indulgent foods in a refrigerator drawer, so they’re “out of sight, out of mind.” Most of the time, healthier foods like fruits and vegetables are the ones that perish the quickest and should be kept on the refrigerator shelf where they can be seen.”

Source: Tips for Your Health and a Healthy Refrigerator     Michigan State University Extension


Quote: “Do not tightly pack foods in the refrigerator or freezer.  Separation allows cold air to circulate around the food. The top shelf tends to be the coldest area of the refrigerator, which is ideal for dairy products, eggs and meats. Keep eggs stored in the carton on the shelf – not in the door. ”

Source: Refrigerator Makeover     North Carolina Cooperative Extension

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